Friday, January 31, 2014

Servant Leadership

Luke 22:24  A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25  But he said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26  But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. 27  For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

Jesus lived in a world where the Kings/Emperors/Governors were served by the people. Power was attained by force, and maintained by keeping people subservient. Herod stayed King of the Jews because he had Roman support. Caesar Augustus exerted far reaching power through conquest, and derived great wealth from the spoils of conquered peoples. In addition many slaves were acquired during the military conquests that benefitted the wealthy people of Rome. These are “the kings of the Gentiles” referred to by Jesus, who saw power as a means to living a privileged life, served by others.

Jesus offers an alternative understanding of leaders: he invites leaders to see themselves as being raised up by God to serve humanity. Jesus teaches that the greater the leader, the greater the responsibility to be of service. This is a lesson that applies to every generation, for it seems that human beings are always tempted to see power as access to privilege – rather than opportunity to serve. Be challenged to today to use your power to benefit someone other than yourself.

For reflection:
Will you let me be your servant
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I might have the grace
To let me be your servant too

We are pilgrims on the journey
We are brothers on the road
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load
(Richard Gillard)

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany
10 “The Authority of God’s Word”
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 71.

This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.     

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